Set That Deadline!

Well, I just entered two manuscripts in the 2012 Golden Heart® contest.  One of them is actually finished (a major requirement of the contest), and pretty much ready to go.  The other is not.  The entries (six hard copies of the first three or four chapters and synopsis, up to 55 pages, and one copy of the full manuscript on cdrom) don’t have to be at the RWA office until December 2, and I’m likely to be working right through Thanksgiving weekend.  If I’m lucky I won’t have to wait until the last day to send it in.  (We have an advantage here in Houston–RWA National is headquartered here, so we can use a delivery service instead of the dependable but not always predictable USPS.)

The completed manuscript is Jinn & Tonic.  It’s been to the GH dance before, scored well but never quite well enough to final.  Having Paper Hearts make the 2011 finals, because I gave it “one more shot,” makes me think sending Jinn & Tonic in again is worth a (fifty-dollar) chance.

The unfinished manuscript,  Bathtub Jinn, hit 60,000 words last night, leaving roughly 20,000 to go.  This would be total madness if I hadn’t spent a couple of weeks this summer plotting the second half of the book.  So far the outline I wrote then (so I could write a synopsis for the Golden Pen contest) has served me well.  I know what happens, and what my hero and heroine must do to reach their Happily Ever After, so it’s pretty much a matter of gluing my butt to the chair and writing it all down.  At this point it doesn’t have to be perfect–it just has to be finished.  All the way to the end.

I’ve had to change my writing method, at least for the rest of this project.  For the past few years, since I started working the Hundred-Word-Challenge program, I’ve been writing long hand in spiral bound notebooks, away from desk and computer.  I work at a computer all day, after all.  That works well for me, especially when I’m trying to find my way into a story.  At that stage I’m not a fast writer, and a notebook page or two a day is about right.  But that won’t do for a sprint like this.  It just isn’t fast enough.

So this month, at least, I’m writing at the computer, in the alcove where I parked my new computer a couple of years ago and found out I liked being in the middle of the house (and facing a window) instead of being shut away in an office.  I’ve bet fifty bucks on my ability to finish this story by the end of the month.  Whether or not I hit the Golden Heart lottery again, I’ve set a deadline and I’ll get the book finished.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 10:13:58

    Twenty-thousand words is a nice chunk. Sprint, girl!

    I’ve got a little more than that to complete on my contracted ms., and I just don’t have a good enough handle on it to sprint. I need a brain transplant.

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    • Kay Hudson
      Nov 11, 2011 @ 10:23:47

      If I didn’t have a pretty detailed outline of the rest of the story (plus a few good ideas that have popped up along the way), I wouldn’t be trying this. But I always met my deadlines when I was researching and writing Environmental Impact Statements, and this is more fun (but harder–making stuff up isn’t as easy as it may sound).

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  2. Laurie A. Green
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 22:51:25

    Good for you, Kay! You can do it!

    I’m in a similar spot, though my novel is 95% complete, but I’ve got a few less days to do it in due to heading out of state for Thanksgiving. I have the entry and synopsis pretty much firmed up, now…just need to write that last 5%. (Or actually, that middle 5%, since I have the ending written already.)

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    • Kay Hudson
      Nov 11, 2011 @ 23:04:26

      I don’t have any plans for Thanksgiving, but this weekend is pretty well shot. I’m going to an all-day workshop with Michael Hauge tomorrow at West Houston RWA, which leaves Sunday for grocery shopping and laundry. And, I hope, some writing. I see a lot of late nights in my immediate future.

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  3. rinkoowrites
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 08:11:07

    All the very best for your marathon writing and the contest Kay!I am nowhere close to writing even the middle of any novel but the posts of writers like you are very interesting and give a warm feeling of shared emotions and situation!!:)

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